Franco Indie delivers again

By Jonny Turner

Alabar’s gift that keeps giving delivered again when Franco Indie took out the Akaroa Cup at Motukarara on Saturday.

The All Stars pacer justified his hot favouritism when adding his first victory on grass to his impressive résumé.

Franco Indie has breeding giants Alabar and Nevele R Stud among its big group of owners.

The two studs stand the pacer’s sire Always B Miki, and they backed the stallion by purchasing Franco Indie as a yearling.

A standout two and three-year-old, the pacer now looks ready to step back into the open class big leagues after producing back-to-back wins.

“He is a lovely horse; it is good to have him back,” Alabar NZ general manager Graeme Henley said.

“Obviously, he was a pretty special horse as a two-year-old and then he was a favourite for some of the biggest races as a three-year-old.”

“He has had a few problems, to the point that at one stage having a six-month spell was the best option.”

“It has taken a while, but it is wonderful to have him back.”

As he has done throughout his career, Franco Indie added to a solid season’s tally for Always B Miki with his Akaroa Cup win.

The sire is sitting second on the two-year-old pacing sires premiership in New Zealand, while in sixth place in the overall standings.

“Miki is having a really good year this year; it is good to see him leaving some really nice two and three-year-olds, while Aardies Express and Franco Indie are flying the flag among the older horses,” Henley said.

“One thing about Miki is he has shown he can leave a top horse.”

Always B Miki is second only to Art Major in New Zealand’s two-year-old pacing sires rankings.

At the ripe age of 24, Art Major is producing some of his best form.

“We hope he lives forever; he deserves to; he is just an amazing horse,” Henley said.

“You could argue his current crop of three-year-olds, with horses like Merlin, are as good as any crop he has left.”

“To do that at his age is incredible.”

“He has been a phenomenal horse to us, and as I say, we hope he can go on forever.”

Art Major’s book in Australia is full and closed, and while he is effectively closed in New Zealand, breeders won’t be turned away at this later stage of the stud season.

Henley said the reason for keeping a lid on the sire’s numbers was purely to look after Art Major in the twilight of his time in the breeding barn.

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